UK Energy Bill not perfect but presents a brighter clearer future
Details of the long awaited UK Energy Bill finally have finally seen the light of the day and while its never going to satisfy all parties the initial overwhelming response is that it presents a good basis for power companies to unleash the significant investment the UK needs to thrive over the next three decades at least.
£110bn ($175bn) is set to be driven into renewing the country’s infrastructure after the bill appeared to satisfy utility demands of clarity and fairness. Greener interests believe the bill hasn’t gone far enough to commit to driving down emissions yet Energy Secretary Ed Davey will contest that.
He will believe that there is wriggle room in that respect as the theme of hammering down a specific emission target has been kicked down the road and scheduled to be revisited in 2016.
Meanwhile he will point to the investment that will now be poured into renewable power as evidence enough that the country is on the right track in terms of emissions at any case.
Consumer groups may feel that the public are the biggest losers, but an additional average household fuel expense of £3 a week seems a small price to pay for the country’s energy security, and freedom from over-dependency on fossil fuels.
Energy firms will be allowed to triple the amount of money they add to customers' bills to pay for renewable power, nuclear and other environmental measures.
There is argument that over the long term consumers be protected from regular increases that have seen household energy bills increase substantially in recent years.
Does the bill now put an end to the Punch and Judy show between the coalition partners? - Let’s hope this distraction is now closed. Mr. Davey certainly seems to believe it is.
“This is a durable agreement across the coalition against which companies can invest and support jobs and our economic recovery.”
He added: "They will allow us to meet our legally binding carbon reduction and renewable energy obligations and will bring on the investment required to keep the lights on and bills affordable for consumers."
Davey is talking the talk but can his bill really be all things to all people? Will he and John Hayes now put down their arms? Will George Osborne be forced to swallow definitive emission targets in 2016 if he’s still there?
There is still some dramas to be played out but with an environment for investment now created, it looks likely that Britain’s power generation landscape looks more positive, economically and environmentally, than had been the case.